May 26 was a day Malachi Springer had been looking forward to for months. It was the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I. The Parker resident was more than a history buff. He often dressed in …
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May 26 was a day Malachi Springer had been looking forward to for months.
It was the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I. The Parker resident was more than a history buff. He often dressed in authentic uniforms from World Wars I and II and had an extensive collection of memorabilia. He even listened to old songs.
For the big event, Colorado Freedom Memorial's fifth anniversary commemoration in Aurora, Springer prepared carefully, researching and preparing an authentic uniform.
May 26 was the day he would re-introduce his 1942 Ford Jeep — “Max,” Springer called it. For two years, he worked on the Jeep after the engine broke down.
Springer spent the afternoon at the event sharing his historical artifacts from 1916-18, chatting with veterans and, of course, posing for photos, sporting his perfectly trimmed mustache.
After the event, he and his friends packed his historical belongings back into Max, and Springer drove away humming tunes to his favorite old songs on his tiny speaker.
“He always told me he'd drive that Jeep every day if he could,” Celia Morrissey, a close friend of Springer's, wrote in a statement issued to media.
As Springer drove home that day, his Jeep vapor-locked and he pulled over on Aurora Parkway to let the engine cool before making repairs. He was standing on the side of the road when he was struck by another car, and his Jeep flipped on top of him. Friends say he was pinned there for 20 minutes.
Springer was admitted to the intensive-care unit at a local hospital for the next two days, where he was held on life support. He died May 28, Memorial Day. He was 32.
Springer's family held a memorial service for the beloved historical re-enactor June 2 at Grace Baptist Church in Parker.
"Malachi spent his days helping us," said his father, Jim Springer. "Malachi means 'messenger of God,' and he was just that. He was that to us, and from what we’ve heard from people."
Malachi Springer spent his days doing what he loved: working on cars and helping others. He worked at AeroColorado, an auto repair shop, before attending Pickens Technical Institute in Aurora. While going to school, he worked at Tag Team Manufacturing, a company that manufactures parts for resale.
His parents recall Malachi's generosity. When he used to work at Wal-Mart, he would use his bonus check to help pay for Christmas gifts for employees who couldn't afford them. Sometimes he paid for them straight out of pocket.
"That's just a reflection of his generosity," his father said.
About a hundred people turned out for Malachi's memorial and spoke about how he was a man of integrity and always willing to help others.
“He was a man who easily crossed between the decades of the 20th century with his dress and mannerism as easily as one might cross a room,” Morrissey wrote. “What a mind. What a memory. We pray that you will feel inspired to live your life with a renewed resolve to do good in the world, to love your family and friends, and to live with integrity as our dear Malachi would have done.”
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